After just one album and two hit singles (the first of which
was the number one hit ‘Fire’, the other one ‘Nightmare’, which was
just as disturbing, but fared less well), the Crazy World Of Arthur Brown
imploded in the middle of their first American tour.
During their stage show Arthur Brown used to arrive on stage
with his head on fire, wearing long flowing gowns, weaving round the stage like
some demented dervish. He was backed on stage by Vincent Crane on keyboards and
Carl Palmer on drums, who at the demise of the Crazy World Of Arthur Brown went
on to form Atomic Rooster.
Carl Palmer only lasted one album with the Rooster before
going on to the diamond studded drum stool with first ‘Emerson, Lake, and
Palmer’ and then ‘Asia’. Vincent Crane obviously brought in replacements
and found his own way to rock ‘n’ roll stardom with Rooster.
For Arthur Brown it was two years in litigation before he
was allowed to carry on his career, but when he did it was in stunning fashion
under the group banner name of Kingdom Come. First there were two wonderfully
eccentric albums in “Galactic Zoo Dossier” and the self titled “Kingdom
Come” with its glorious tales of traffic lights, whirlpools, and teachers;
both were released in 1972, before “Journey”, arguably Brown’s finest
To say that the line-up fluctuated somewhat is a bit of an
understatement. From the first album only Andy Dalby on lead guitar was still
in the band, and when fourth drummer Chris Burrows left after the first album,
the band dispensed with a drummer altogether. All the rhythm work was done by
Bentley, a homemade drum machine, which Brown operated both in the studio and
on the live stage. This was not a fact the band tried to hide, and by the time
this wonderful album was recorded, Bentley had been moved up to the very front
of the mix. (If only Spinal Tap had thought of this, perhaps one day they will.
It would make a wonderful headline, “Electric Drum machine killed in bizarre
Having an electronic member in the band made perfect sense.
It was not possible that any of the others came from planet Earth. You only
have to listen to the eerie keyboards of Victor Peraino, the man who actually
spoke less than the drummer, to verify this.
The bass playing of Phil Shutt is hypnotically heavy
throughout. Andy Dalby’s guitar playing was always the perfect foil to Arthur
Brown’s crystal clear vocal delivery. When you listen to the songs on this
album you cannot help but wonder why Arthur Brown is not mentioned in the same
breath as other leading English vocalists such as Paul Rogers and Joe Cocker.
To see this band acting out their songs on the live stage at
the beginning of the seventies was a sight to behold, giving real meaning to a
stage show. The band would arrive on stage with all their faces painted gold.
Then Arthur Brown would wind up Bentley, thumping out a slow heavy beat, which
would be the sign for the opening of ‘Time Captives’. This song always
opened the set in the band’s later years, and on this album. As the beat
starts to speed up, Phil Shutt picks up the beat before being joined by Andy
Dalby and Victor Peraino, leading to Arthur Brown’s unworldly vocals.
The songs that follow do not disappoint, as the musicianship
is of the finest order. In the genre of Progressive Space Rock, this ranges up
there with the finest. (Pink Floyd’s Meddle and Hawkwind’s Warrior On The
Edge Of Time come to mind as other fine albums of their ilk.) This album bears
repeated listening, because the closer you get your ears, the more you
discover. If you would like to listen to something out of the traditional rock
avenues, may I suggest a trip into the eccentric thoughts of Arthur Brown and
his spacemusos on this fine collection and take a ‘Journey’.